By Sara Mir, DDS, and Lynn Marsh, RDH, EdD
Dental enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the human body. A crystalline latticework composed of a variety of minerals—predominantly hydroxyapatite—the enamel structure is a product of the demineralization and remineralization process. Dental biofilm adjusts the tooth surface pH, which affects the demineralization/remineralization process. Consumption of fermentable carbohydrates, especially sucrose, provides the substrate for the cariogenic microorganisms in the biofilm to form organic acids.1 When acids lower the pH of the dental biofilm, the demineralization process begins to break down tooth enamel. The loss of calcium and phosphates from the surface and subsurface enamel into the pellicle and biofilm result in white lesions in the enamel. Consequently, if dental biofilm is not routinely and effectively removed from tooth surfaces, the demineralized white lesions continue to develop into caries lesions.
* References can be found in the original article via the link below.